Brew grinder shopping in late 2018

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
taelvin

Postby taelvin » Dec 04, 2018, 11:03 pm

Good evening,

This is my first post but I have been surfing the forums for the last year since I bought my Profitec Pro 700. I am going back to work on my pour-over equipment/skills and currently use a Baratza Virtuoso grinder. I buy fresh beans from good roasters (several local here in Portland but also some from other areas like Temple in Sacramento CA) and typically use them up within 2-3 weeks of their roast date. I am interested in upgrading my grinder because I can tell I am not getting as much clarity in the taste profile as I do when I get it at the shops themselves and I hope to increase my coffee knowledge, skill, and taste/profile ability over time.

From looking through the posts here using google search it seems like the general consensus is the next step up would be a Bunnzilla and then after that either an EK43 or a Ditting K804 lab. Most posters seem to agree that even though the Baratza Forte BG is a good size and function for the home kitchen it still is worthwhile to go up to a Bunnzilla (or if one can spend the additional 1.5K, the EK43 short or Ditting lab).

Does this sound right to folks even now in late 2018? Most the posts I read were 2014-2017.

Thank you for all your thoughts and wisdom!
Chad

animus128

Postby animus128 » Dec 05, 2018, 3:08 am

As the high end brew grinder market is quite small, I think the order of capabable grinders is roughly as follows:

(3) Midrange handgrinders (especially Commandante MK3)
(2) Vario with steel burrs or Forte
(1) Mahlkönig bulk grinders: Kenia, Guatemala, Tanzania or Ek43 and their ditting equivalents (kr804, 805)

Ignoring special cases where there is not much info yet like the OE Apex (or other ghost burr grinders) and the Mazzer ZM, any other grindee should probably perform worse than (3) in brew range. Also the bunnzilla should probably be relatively simiilar to (1).

Of course there also are the very niche super high end grinders like the EG1 or monoliths, which use similar burr sets as (1), but they are really in a diffferent price class!

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russel

Postby russel » Dec 05, 2018, 10:20 am

The Bunn G2 Trifecta and the Mahlkoenig GH2 both cost about as much the Baratza Forte BG in the US market.

You could also look into the Kalita Nicecut/Fuji r220 class of table top mill style grinders.

I'm not a big fan of the ever escalating espresso-equipment-acquisition mindset (at least not when it's wrapped up in the guise of "quality in the cup"), and I think it's even more misguidedly deployed in the brew sphere. There are huge gaps in terms of home brewing ergonomics, workflow, and form factor...but there are no huge grind quality chasms that require a 2K+ expenditure to leap (that's my first hand experience with probably 20 different brew grinders from an Encore to all sorts of Dittings, in both domestic and commercial settings).
russel at anacidicandbitterbeverage dot com

erik82

Postby erik82 » Dec 05, 2018, 1:05 pm

The Commandante MK3 Nitro will be very hard to beat for brew unless you go in the direction of an EK43 and even then the difference is quite subtle.

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jbviau

Postby jbviau » Dec 05, 2018, 1:20 pm

Erik, can you back that claim up with more detail, please? Just so it doesn't appear that I'm biased, I was similarly skeptical when a Knock grinder was compared to an EK not that long ago...
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

namelessone

Postby namelessone » Dec 05, 2018, 3:24 pm

You should be able to get good clarity of flavour with Baratza Virtuoso grinder without needing another grinder. What recipe are you using?

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Almico

Postby Almico » Dec 05, 2018, 3:50 pm

Burr size seems to matter with percolated or immersion brewed coffee. Bigger is better. But big commercial burr grinders are awkward at best in a home environment and quite messy. I live alone with my dog and I still wouldn't put a Bunzilla or EK in my kitchen.

I really like the small form factor of the Fuji R220 https://www.amazon.com/Fuji-Royal-high- ... 9458254780

It is quite and neat with 77mm burrs and makes wonderful drip coffee. They are only sold in Japan and run on 100V so one should get the step up/down transformer with it.

You can find it cheaper buying direct from Japan, like I did, but I would spend $600 on the Fuji before spending $1000 on a Forte or Bunn (I have/had both).

CwD

Postby CwD » Dec 05, 2018, 4:49 pm

erik82 wrote:The Commandante MK3 Nitro will be very hard to beat for brew unless you go in the direction of an EK43 and even then the difference is quite subtle.

I very very very very very very strongly disagree with this. The Comandante I've used wasn't even a pale shadow of my Bunnzilla, let alone my tungsten SSP'd EG or an EK, which are both more than subtly better than the BunnZ.

Almico wrote:But big commercial burr grinders are awkward at best in a home environment and quite messy.

I don't really find this at all true either. I don't know, maybe your R120 is, but I never found the Bunnzilla any messier or more awkward than a home grinder, and in fact found the exact opposite. Far cleaner, lower retention, and overall well behaved than any electric home grinder. The singular drawback being the size and noise. And from a friend with an EK and Bunnzilla at home, the EK's both cleaner and quieter. And it's easy enough to stick a cordless vacuum by your setup for any mess anyway.

baristainzmking

Postby baristainzmking » Dec 05, 2018, 4:59 pm

How is niche zero for brewed coffee?
Julia

happycat

Postby happycat » Dec 05, 2018, 6:18 pm

taelvin wrote:Good evening,

This is my first post but I have been surfing the forums for the last year since I bought my Profitec Pro 700. I am going back to work on my pour-over equipment/skills and currently use a Baratza Virtuoso grinder. I buy fresh beans from good roasters (several local here in Portland but also some from other areas like Temple in Sacramento CA) and typically use them up within 2-3 weeks of their roast date. I am interested in upgrading my grinder because I can tell I am not getting as much clarity in the taste profile as I do when I get it at the shops themselves and I hope to increase my coffee knowledge, skill, and taste/profile ability over time.

From looking through the posts here using google search it seems like the general consensus is the next step up would be a Bunnzilla and then after that either an EK43 or a Ditting K804 lab. Most posters seem to agree that even though the Baratza Forte BG is a good size and function for the home kitchen it still is worthwhile to go up to a Bunnzilla (or if one can spend the additional 1.5K, the EK43 short or Ditting lab).

Does this sound right to folks even now in late 2018? Most the posts I read were 2014-2017.

Thank you for all your thoughts and wisdom!
Chad


Some other prerequisites to consider that I didn't see mentioned to match up with cafes:

1. Water filter
2. Brew ratio
3. Bloom and Stirring
4. PID kettle at diff temps
5. Brew timing and pulse pouring
6. Kinds of brew methods and filters

It's not clear whether you duplicate everything your favourite cafe does except your grinder or if there are other factors.
LMWDP #603